About 2,000 Furloughed MotorCity Casino Workers To Lose Health Insurance

Written By Matt Schoch on July 27, 2020Last Updated on August 6, 2020

About 2,000 furloughed MotorCity Casino employees will lose their health insurance on Aug. 1, according to the Detroit Free Press.

This comes more than four months after Detroit’s three casinos were forced to shut down because of the COVID-19 spread.

“This decision weighs heavily on us,” MotorCity Casino president Bruce Dall said in a statement provided Friday to Playinmichigan. “While these circumstances are beyond our control, we implore residents to follow safety guidelines to stem the spread of the virus so all Michigan businesses can reopen.

“If we all work together, we hope that we will soon be able to safely welcome back both our employees and our guests.”

MotorCity, Greektown Casino-Hotel, and MGM Grand Detroit have been closed since March 16, five days after Michigan sports betting began.

Detroit casinos await green light from Lansing

Despite hopes that Detroit’s casinos would reopen by the Fourth of July weekend, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has not budged.

“We had expected to reopen our casino no later than July 4, with significantly reduced occupancy limits at the start,” Dall said. “Even though the reduced occupancy limits would have resulted in reduced staffing levels, we committed to providing health care benefits through July 31, 2020, for all of our qualified employees, whether they would have been working or not.”

Michigan had a coronavirus surge in late June that has not yet subsided enough for the governor to relax restrictions. The state announced 594 new coronavirus cases and three new deaths on Friday.

Nearly all Michigan tribal casinos are open

Meanwhile, autonomous tribes have reopened 22 of Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos. The other, Kings Club Casino, has a nearby casino also operated by the Bay Mills Indian Community in Brimley.

According to the COVID-19 Casino Tracker published by the American Gaming Association, 843 casinos were open nationwide Friday afternoon, while 146 were closed.

During the shutdown, Detroit’s casinos are losing revenue for their parent companies, the state and the city.

Detroit officials have estimated the casino shutdowns have lost Detroit about $600,000 a day.

In the first six months of 2020, casino revenues are down nearly 60% from 2019.

Dall: Workers can seek COBRA medical assistance

Last month, Penn National Gaming property Greektown announced it would lay off 621 employees starting Sept. 15.

In May, MGM issued a notice that it was laying off most of its workforce temporarily.

In his statement, Dall noted eligible MotorCity employees will be able to continue health care benefits under COBRA.

“We’ve worked diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic toward our goals of safely bringing all MotorCity Casino Hotel employees back to work and providing our guests with a safe and enjoyable gaming experience,” Dall said. “We take great pride in all of our hard-working Associates who have provided such tremendous service to our guests. We regret the terrible burden that this pandemic has brought to each of them.”

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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